The U.S. Department of Labor is reporting that an additional 547,000 Americans made their initial filing for unemployment benefits during the week ending on Saturday April 17, 2021 — a decrease of 39,000 from the previous week’s revised level. This is the lowest level of initial claims since March 14, 2020.
Oregon is the only state in the U.S. who has for the past 48-years maintained a wildfire risk policy. The provider is Lloyd’s of London, the insurance company founded in the 17th century coffeehouse near the Tower of London, known for issuing one-of-a-kind insurance policies. With the 2021 fire season just about to begin, Oregon will once again rely on its one-of-a-kind $25 million wildfire policy with Lloyd’s.
Demand for wood and wood products is unrelenting. Resulting in lumber prices reaching historic high levels and daily climbing ever higher. The shares of publicly traded lumber manufacturers, distributors and retailers wood suppliers continue to soar. While oddly enough, trees themselves remain dirt cheap in places like Louisiana, where timber supplies are plentiful.
For over a decade paper demand in Europe has been on the decline. The COVID-19 pandemic further changed consumers behavior patterns and led to a significant overcapacity in the European paper market, which has resulted in historically low-price levels and challenged the cost-competitiveness of many paper mills. As a result, Stora Enso has announced that they intend to permanently close the Veitsiluoto mill in Finland and Kvarnsveden mill in Sweden sometime in Q3 of 2021.
Statistics Canada (StatsCan) is reporting that the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for March rose 2.2% on a year-over-year basis, up from a 1.1% gain in February. As Canada marked the end of the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, price growth in March 2021 was accentuated by what is known as base-year effects, originating in March 2020.
According to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Application Survey for the week ending April 16, 2021, the Market Composite Index — a measure of mortgage loan application volume — increased 8.6% percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index increased 9% compared with the previous week.
The latest statistics released by China Customs reveal that China’s import volume of softwood lumber decreased by approximately 10% in 2020. In the first two month of 2021, when compared to the same period of time in 2020, the decline has been 23%. China’s softwood lumber inventory was low at the end of 2020 and at the end of March 2021, it was at 700,000 m3, which is well below the normal average inventory of 800,000 – 1 million m3 in previous years.
The Canadian National Railway (CN) has just submitted an offer to purchase the Kansas City Southern Railroad (KCS) for $30 billion, starting what could possibly be a bidding war with the Canadian Pacific Railway (CP) which previously offered $25 billion last month. Canada’s two biggest railroads are vying for a rail network that links their country with the U.S. and Mexico as a reworked trade alliance gets underway and the economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic gathers steam.
According to data released by the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) on Monday (4-19-21), Canadian housing starts increased month-over-month by 21.6% in March. Setting a new all-time record high for housing starts at 335,200 units in March, well above industry expectations of 250,000 units.
The latest Mortgage Banker Association’s (MBA) Forbearance and Call Survey reports that the total number of loans now in forbearance decreased by 16 basis points from 4.66% of servicers’ portfolio volume in the prior week to 4.50% as of April 11, 2021. According to MBA’s estimate, 2.3 million homeowners are in forbearance plans.